JUDITH CORINNE STIRITZ, BILLY CARROLL WHEELER, KENNETH RAY CARNEY, AND BOBBY GENE SMITH, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ENSURING ARKANSAS' FUTURE PETITIONERS
HONORABLE MARK MARTIN, SECRETARY OF STATE, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY RESPONDENT DON TILTON, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ARKANSAS JOBS COALITION INTERVENOR
Trotter Law Firm, PLLC, by: Scott C. Trotter, for
Kelly, Deputy Secretary of State and General Counsel; and
Michael Fincher, Associate General Counsel, for respondent.
Lindsey & Jennings LLP, by: Stephen R. Lancaster and Gary
D. Marts, Jr.; and Steel, Wright & Gray, PLLC, by: Alex
T. Gray and Nate Steel, for intervenor.
K. WOOD, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Judith Stiritz, Billy Carroll Wheeler, Kenneth Ray Carney,
and Bobby Gene Smith, individually and on behalf of Ensuring
Arkansas' Future, filed this original action seeking to
enjoin the Secretary of State Mark Martin from placing Issue
Number 4, a proposed constitutional amendment concerning
casino gambling, on the ballot for the general election on
November 6, 2018. Petitioners claim that the proposed
amendment's popular name and ballot title are
insufficient. With our consent, Don Tilton, individually and
on behalf of Arkansas Jobs Coalition, has intervened in
support of the proposed amendment. Because we conclude that
the popular name and ballot title are sufficient, we deny the
Attorney General certified this proposed amendment's
popular name and ballot title on May 23, 2018. The Secretary
of State certified the sufficiency of the proposed initiative
measure on September 5, 2018. As certified, the popular name
of the proposed amendment is:
An Amendment to Require Four Licenses to be Issued for Casino
Gaming at Casinos, One Each in Crittenden (to Southland
Racing Corporation), Garland (to Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc.),
Pope, and Jefferson Counties
complete text of the ballot title, as certified, is appended
to this opinion. On September 12, 2018, petitioners filed
this original action. This court has jurisdiction under both
Amendment 7 as codified in article 5, section 1 of the
Arkansas Constitution and Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 6-5(a).
raised twenty-seven challenges to the proposed amendment.
Three challenges pertain to the popular name and twenty-four
concern the ballot title. This court reviewed and considered
each challenge; however, many of them necessitate no analysis
in this opinion because they were wholly unsupported by any
factual or legal argument. We have frequently stated that we
will not research or develop arguments for petitioners.
City of Greenbrier v. Roberts, 354 Ark.
591, 127 S.W.3d 454 (2003). Accordingly, we limit our
discussion below to those arguments adequately presented to
first consider the challenges to the popular name of the
proposed amendment. The purpose of an amendment's popular
name is "to identify the proposal for discussion prior
to the election." May v. Daniels, 359 Ark. 100,
104, 194 S.W.3d 771, 776 (2004). It is "primarily a
useful legislative device that need not contain the same
detailed information or include exceptions that might be
required of a ballot title." Id. It must not be
misleading; it must be intelligible, honest, and impartial.
Id. While it cannot contain catchphrases or slogans
that may mislead or give partisan coloring, it is not held to
the same stringent standards as the ballot title.
Id.; see also Ark. Women's Political Caucus
v. Riviere, 283 Ark. 463, 677 S.W.2d 846 (1984).
first argue that the popular name is insufficient because it
designates Southland Racing Corporation and Oaklawn Jockey
Club, Inc., as two entities that will receive a casino
license, but the amendment's text does not specifically
name those corporations. Petitioners contend this omits
pertinent information and is misleading. As it is undisputed
that Oaklawn and Southland are the only franchise holders
that meet the description contained in the amendment, we find
that it is informative, not misleading.
also assert that the popular name suggests that the Arkansas
Racing Commission must issue four casino licenses, one in
each of the four counties. They argue this is misleading
since the amendment provides that for a casino to receive a
license in Pope and Jefferson Counties, the casino applicant
will have to meet certain requirements. Therefore, the
possibility exists that the Commission could not issue four
casino licenses. We conclude that this is not misleading. A
popular name need not identify all future scenarios.
"[B]ecause so little is required of a popular name, we
have never held a proposed measure invalid solely because of
an incomplete description of the act by the popular
name." Gaines v. McCuen, 296 Ark. 513, 516, 758
S.W.2d 403, 404-05 (1988). The popular name is an
identification tool and simply cannot explain every
eventuality of the actual amendment.
court decides the sufficiency of the ballot title as a matter
of law. Wilson v. Martin, 2016 Ark. 334, 500 S.W.3d
160. The ballot title (1) must include an impartial summary
of the proposed amendment that will give voters a fair
understanding of the issues presented and of the scope and
significance of the proposed changes in the law; (2) cannot
omit material information that would give the voter serious
ground for reflection; and (3) must be free from misleading
tendencies that, whether by amplification, omission, or
fallacy, thwart a fair understanding of the issues presented.
Parker v. Priest, 326 Ark. 123, 930 S.W.2d 322
(1996). The ballot title need not contain a synopsis of the
proposed amendment or cover every detail of it. Rose v.
Martin, 2016 Ark. 339, at 4, 500 S.W.3d 148, 151. If
information omitted from the ballot title is an essential
fact that would give the voter serious ground for reflection,
it must be disclosed. Id., 500 S.W.3d at 152.
of Definitions and Misleading Terms
argue that the ballot title fails to define key terms for the
voter and that certain terms are misleading. They first argue
that of the eleven terms defined in the amendment's text,
only two-casino gaming and net casino-gaming receipts-are
defined in the ballot title. Our court has disapproved of
undefined terms in a ballot title that are highly technical,
obscure, that attempt to mislead voters, or that hide the
actual nature of the proposal. See Christian Civic Action
Comm. v. McCuen, 318 Ark. 241, 884 S.W.2d 605 (1994).
However, a term's definition need not appear in the
ballot title if it is readily understandable. See
id. We have previously held that terms such as state
lottery, charitable bingo game, and charitable raffle do not
require a definition. Id.; see also Cox v.
Daniels, 374 Ark. 437, 288 S.W.3d 591 (2008) (holding
that omitting a definition of "state lottery" did
not make the ballot title misleading or insufficient). Here,
the terms that the petitioners object to being undefined in
the ballot title include casino, franchise holder,
intoxicating liquor, net casino gaming receipts, sporting
events, and wholesaler. We do not find these terms obscure or
highly technical. They do not require definitions in order
for voters to understand this amendment's scope and
import; therefore, voters are not misled by their omission.
petitioners claim that the term "casino gaming" is
incomplete and misleading because it fails to state that
lotteries are excluded from the definition. However,
"casino gaming" is defined in the ballot title as
gambling "with cards, dice, equipment, or any
mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic device or
machine . . . as well as accepting wagers on sporting
events." This mirrors the definition contained in the
amendment, and we find it to be a common appellation. In
Parker, we concluded that voters could readily
understand terms such as "state lottery" and
"casino gambling." 326 Ark. 123, 930 S.W.2d 322.
Likewise, because we assume that voters can readily
differentiate these two terms, we find that voters will not
be misled. Again, a ballot title is not "required to
include every detail, term, definition, or how the law may
work." Cox v. Martin, 2012 Ark. 352, at 9, 423
S.W.3d 75, 83.
as in the popular-name challenge, petitioners argue that the
ballot title is misleading because it states that the
Commission is "required" to issue four casino
licenses. Certainly, the amendment places requirements on
casino applicants in Pope and Jefferson Counties that, if not
met, could result in the Commission's not issuing four
licenses. We reject this argument because the ballot title
explains this process and the requirements for applicants,
and voters ...